AVwebFlash - Volume 19, Number 12a

March 18, 2013

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Indiana Crash back to top 

Bizjet Crashes In South Bend Neighborhood

Four people were killed, including two on the ground, when a Beech Premier 1 crashed into three houses in South Bend, Indiana Sunday evening. Reports say the pilot of the aircraft reported mechanical problems before the plane, which was on a flight from Tulsa to South Bend, clipped one house, plowed through a second and came to rest inside a third house. A small boy in one of the houses apparently escaped with a scratch on his head. Two others in the plane and another person on the ground were taken to hospital. The injured reportedly did not have life-threatening injuries.

The aircraft is registered to a Montana company and operated by a Tulsa business. The neighborhood had to be evacuated because of a gas leak. By late Sunday it appeared that not all the occupants of the houses had been accounted for.

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Revisiting the Idea of a Pilot Shortage back to top 

New Study Challenges Pilot Shortage

A young upwardly mobile first officer for a major airline says the math doesn't support the notion of a pilot shortage anytime soon. Brant Harrison naturally has a vested interest in the pilots ahead of him on the seniority list moving on and when he heard about studies like one from Boeing suggesting the looming need for 460,000 pilots over the next 20 years he was encouraged. But when Harrison couldn't see any real-world evidence of that shortage he decided to put his college minor in math and business to work and see where all these jobs were supposed to be coming from. In a podcast interview with AVweb, Harrison said the airline-by-airline analysis he's recently released doesn't envision any significant change in the job market until at least the end of this decade. "There are so many pilots for a limited amount of jobs," he said.

Harrison looked at everything from retirements to fleet renewals to new pilot starts in the study and concluded that the only real barrier to airlines finding pilots is the low starting pay for right seaters. Even at the low rates of pay, particularly in the regional airlines, he said the carriers still seem to be able to fill vacancies and that's where the math gets interesting. While the major airlines have either flatlined or are growing slowly, a lot of regionals are shrinking and that's put a glut of cockpit-ready pilots on the market. He also said the concern over the FAA's increasing experience requirements for new airline pilots (up to 1,500 hours from 250) is largely unfounded because with some exceptions most regionals require about 1,000 hours already.

Podcast: Pilot Shortage? What Pilot Shortage?

File Size 11.6 MB / Running Time 12:45

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Brant Harrison kept hearing about a pilot shortage, but he couldn't see any evidence of it — so the young first officer decided to crunch the numbers himself. He spoke with AVweb's Russ Niles about his airline-by-airline analysis and why it means there are plenty of pilots to go around.

Click here to listen. (11.6 MB, 12:45)

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Changing Face of the Associations back to top 

AOPA Outlines Leadership Search And Revenues

Current AOPA President and CEO Craig Fuller announced in February that he would resign as soon as a suitable replacement could be found and AOPA chairman Bill Trimble has now described the kind of individual the association is seeking. In an open letter to AOPA members, Trimble said the candidate "must be a passionate outgoing aviator who believes in the critical value GA brings to our country and citizens." That individual must also be experienced in business and "able to articulate and fight for our cause" in the Capitol and nationwide. Trimble notes that the post-9/11 political landscape means AOPA must work with more agencies and defend against more regulatory threats. He noted the rising cost of flying for AOPA members and factors that negatively impact AOPA revenues.

Trimble reminds members that AOPA membership dues "remained unchanged" from 1990 until 2010, when they increased by 15 percent, and notes that the consumer price index "increased 76 percent" over the same period. Trimble says dues make up less than a third of AOPA revenue and other revenue streams, like ad sales in the association's magazines, suffered with the economic downturn. AOPA has "worked hard to bring down" operational costs, according to Trimble, without sacrificing its advocacy and pilot support activities. He says AOPA is holding $80 million in reserves that are "invested in a diversified portfolio." Those investments "provide $3.2 million in revenue that we do not need to harness from membership dues or other activities," and also leave the organization ready to flight battles "such as we saw at 9/11 or with user fees" on a national scale. In closing, Trimble stresses that AOPA will "focus on keeping this generation in the air and providing the opportunity to allow our children to experience the joy of flight." The full letter is online here.

EAA Sacks Homebuilder Manager

There's been more movement in EAA's executive suite. Chad Jensen, EAA's Homebuilder Community Manager, was released from the post on Friday. Jensen confirmed his sacking in an email to AVweb and also on the Van's Air Force forum. He declined comment on Sunday. EAA spokesman Dick Knapinski said Jensen's dismissal was a "personnel situation" that he could not discuss but he added that EAA is talking with him about another role within the organization. "We're hoping to keep him involved somehow," Knapinski said.

Jensen also expressed hope that he would be able to rejoin EAA. He assumed his former the post in August of 2011 and was reportedly well liked in the builders' community. He built and flies an RV-7 and is building a Mustang II. Before joining EAA he was sales manager at Image Air in Bloomington, Ill.

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Looking Forward, Looking Back back to top 

Pilots Shielded From Lasers With Gold?

Laser chemist and researcher Jayan Thomas of the University of Central Florida is working to create eyewear that could use gold to prevent pilots from being temporarily blinded or injured by laser light shot into the cockpit from the ground. Thomas is working in collaboration with other researchers at the Carnegie Mellon Institute in the field of nanotechnology. The team is working to develop a method of impregnating lenses with tiny nano clusters of gold that block out high-intensity laser light while allowing normal visible light to pass through. Last year, the FAA documented more than 3,400 laser incidents that involved aircraft.

Captain Steve Sevier is a US Airways pilot and safety expert for the Coalition of Air Line Pilots Associations. Sevier recently told the Orlando Sentinel that a doctor told him he had narrowly avoided serious eye injury after personally suffering a laser incident while on approach to LAX. According to the Sentinel, "Most experts say there is little chance of pilots suffering permanent eye damage from a laser pointer aimed at them from thousands of feet away on the ground." While more powerful lasers are now publicly available, AVweb is not aware of any similar incidents resulting in permanent eye damage to a pilot. However, potential consequences resulting from extremely bright light being introduced into the cockpit during critical phases of flight extend beyond eye health. Responding to concerns over cost, Thomas says his research revolves around nanotechnology and that the amount of gold required for a pair of glasses is far less than a fraction of an ounce.

Wrights Likely To Retain Title Of "First" In Flight

Famed aircraft authority Jane's All the World's Aircraft says there's convincing evidence that Gustav Whitehead, not the Wright brothers, was the first to achieve powered controlled flight, but critics may be unmoved. In the foreword of the 100th edition of Jane's All the World's Aircraft, Jane's editor Paul Jackson cites the work of Australian aviation historian John Brown. Brown's evidence includes a 1901 article describing Whitehead's sustained flight in a controlled powered aircraft flown from a field in Connecticut, ahead of the Wrights' 1903 flight. Unfortunately, although one picture of a Whitehead flight was reportedly taken, observers who require any direct visual evidence will be disappointed. And Whitehead is not without his detractors.

While other pioneers may have preceded the Wright brothers in briefly achieving controlled flight in a powered airplane, a lack of clear convincing evidence and successive development of an airframe have likely stunted their notoriety. And that may be the case for Whitehead.

The first written account cited by Brown that is descriptive of Whitehead's pre-Wright flights was published by the Bridgeport Herald in August of 1901. That story states that an unnamed representative of the Herald witnessed the flight. According to Brown, the Herald published the story on page five of a subsequent issue and did not include a photograph. Jackson writes that existence of a photograph is supported by written accounts that describe it as blurry and identify it as part of an exhibition that showcased aviation in 1904 and 1906. Whereabouts of the original photograph, or any copies, are unknown. Jackson adds that Brown's work found multiple "affidavits and statements" that exist "on tape and film or video" of individuals who "bear witness to the many powered flights made by Whitehead between August 1901 and January 1902." There are no taped, filmed or video records available to provide visual confirmation of Whitehead's flights. Jackson appears satisfied by the evidence presented by Brown. Find his account, here. See Brown's web page, here. Find accounts dismissive of Whitehead's achievements here and a brief description of other largely forgotten pioneers, here.

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News Briefs back to top 

Crew Ignored Orders To Abort Landing

Canada's Transportation Safety Board is considering whether to investigate why the crew of an Air Canada flight ignored two orders from air traffic control to abort a landing at Toronto's Pearson International Airport last week. Controllers spotted a ground radar return showing an object near the threshold of the runway the flight from Edmonton was about to land on. They twice ordered the go-around but according to the Toronto Star the flight landed anyway without incident. The Star quoted a Transport Canada preliminary report as saying the crew told controllers they thought the go-around order was for "someone else." TSB spokesman Chris Krepski said, "We're assessing that information to determine whether we'll pursue a full investigation." Meanwhile, there will be another investigation on how a driverless van was able to run amok at the airport to start the whole thing.

Transport Canada said the van crossed the runway and a taxiway before ending up on the grass at the southeast side of the airport. It was found in gear with its engine running. Meanwhile back at a Sunwing Airlines Boeing 737 parked at a gate, a service technician was looking for the van he said he left parked outside the plane as he worked inside. The van apparently clipped an engine nacelle on its journey toward the active runway.

Helicopter Prison Escape In Quebec

Police in the Canadian province of Quebec said late Sunday they had arrested three men and had another cornered in connection with the helicopter escape of two of the men from a prison in Saint-Jerome, about 25 miles northwest of Montreal. Police are releasing few details but witness accounts gathered by various media sources suggest two of the men commandeered a helicopter at gunpoint and forced the pilot to hover over the prison yard. "At that point, two of the inmates came out and appeared to attach themselves to cables that were attached to the helicopter," CTV News reporter Derek Conlon reported. "The helicopter then took off with these two men suspended underneath and it flew away, much to the surprise and astonishment of everyone in the area."

It's not clear how long the men, identified as Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau, 36, and 33-year-old Danny Provencal, hung underneath but Barbeau and the two alleged accomplices were arrested 30 miles from the prison. Provencal was located nearby and reportedly phoned a Montreal radio station saying he'd been shot in the leg. The station released a recording of Provencal who, speaking in French, said: ""I don't want to hurt anyone. I just don't want to stay in prison, and I'm ready to die." At our deadline negotiations were under way between Provencal and the police.

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Tomorrow's GA Community back to top 

A Chance For Kids To Build Airplanes

Eight high-school students will win a free trip to the Glasair build center in Arlington, Wash., this June, in a new educational competition announced this week by GAMA and Build-A-Plane. The students will participate in Glasair's "Two Weeks to Taxi" program, building two Sportsman airplanes and learning about science, technology, engineering and math. "This competition will give students the opportunity to explore general aviation," said Pete Bunce, GAMA president. "We need to expose young people to the exciting and rewarding careers that await them in the aerospace industry and ensure they have the tools to succeed." High schools who wish to enter the competition should call Katrina Bradshaw of Build-A-Plane at 804-843-3321 immediately, as space in the competition is limited.

Teachers who participate in the challenge will be issued free "Fly To Learn" software that provides tools for teachers to guide students through the process of building an aircraft on a computer. Each high school will select one design that will compete in a virtual fly-off. The top two schools will each be funded to send four students plus their teacher and a chaperone to Glasair, and take field trips to visit the nearby Boeing factory and the Museum of Flight. Also this week, the National Aviation Hall of Fame said it is seeking entries for the 27th annual Scott Crossfield Aerospace Education Teacher of the Year Award, which includes a $5,000 cash stipend. The deadline for nominations is June 1. For more information and submission forms, go to the NAHF website or call 888-383-1903, ext. 11.

Flying Camp, For Free

Seventy-year-old Vietnam veteran and CFII Rafael Sierra has created a short summer camp program in Thermal, Calif., that provides select high school students with ground school, one hour of flight training, and a student pilot certificate -- all free. Sierra's Coachella Valley Youth Aviation Education Program selects students on the basis of their essay submissions and their desire to become commercial pilots. He runs the program on financial donations and contributions from like-minded friends and local businesses. Sierra told AVweb, Friday, that last year 57 students "graduated" from the program, and this June 22-29 he will guide another group. Sierra says his model is simple and can be copied successfully across the country.

The ground school portion of the camp covers weather, flight planning, aircraft systems, weight and balance and regulations. "We cover it all," says Sierra. He has arranged for each student to participate in Young Eagles flights as part of his program. And he donates his own time to provide one hour of flight instruction to each student and says that local FBO Thermal Aviation has come on board to donate free fuel for the flights. Donations are key to what the program can offer. Sierra credits his friend Dr. Mort Gubin for donating 60 free medicals and thanks friends and local businesses for providing nearly $6000 in monetary donations to help fund the project. "All of them told me to come back and ask again next year" because they believe in the program, Sierra said. All funds go to supplies that include instruction materials, thumb drives, E6Bs and learning aids for the students, according to Sierra.

Sierra says his supporters are mainly "guys like me, 65 years and older who understand the pilot population is in decline." He hopes to continue to grow the program and to see similar programs spread to other airports across the country, and maintains an active Facebook page that's open to anyone. According to Sierra, aviation has been a wonderful part of his life. "We're very much aware that we're not going to take anything with us, and we've got to give it back."

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Atrophy -- The Natural State

On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli wonders if the joy and romance of flight have a lot less to do with why we all fly than the ever-futile attempt to beat back the inevitable downward slide of skills. Like everyone else, he likes to be thought of as a good stick. And like everyone else, proving that consistently is another matter.

Read more and join the conversation.

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The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 

AVmail: March 18, 2013

Each week, we run a sampling of the letters received to our editorial inbox here in AVmail. One letter that's particularly relevant, informative, or otherwise compelling will headline this section as our "Letter of the Week," and we'll send the author an official AVweb baseball cap as a "thank you" for interacting with us (and the rest of our readership). Send us your comments and questions using this form. Please include your mailing address in your e-mail (just in case your letter is our "Letter of the Week"); by the same token, please let us know if your message is not intended for publication.

Letter of the Week: Question from a Midair Veteran

I have read your interesting article on mid-air collisions, but I cannot agree totally with it. I am the lucky survivor of an actual mid-air, where my Twin Comanche at 150 kts cut off the fin of a Cessna C172RG at 125 kts, losing most of my left wing tip in the crash. Luckily, nobody was hurt, but it still puzzles me how such an event may have occurred.

In perfectly clear weather, I was on my toes knowing that traffic at the same altitude (2,000 feet) was heavy and having been warned by ATC of traffic on the opposite heading. Unfortumately, I had just passed another aircraft on opposite heading and thought that was it. Despite what I believed to be an accurate scan, we only saw each other at a distance of about 1,000 feet. I dove sharply to the right, but the other guy also dove without turning, so I pulled up hoping to avoid him. Well, I didn't make it.

My question is: In case you really are close, is it better to dive, to keep him in sight, or to pull up?

Giulio Valdonio

Sequester Bites

Regarding the "Question of the Week" on sequester: I instruct at KANE in Minnesota. Our contract tower is on the list to close. We are a reliever airport for KMSP and have six instrument approaches from three different directions, a significant amount of flight instruction, corporate jet traffic, and cargo haulers as well as about 400 GA aircraft based on the field.

With the mix of aircraft and pilot experience and skill, operating with no tower is a huge safety concern. Unfortunately, the FAA isn't considering safety as one of the criteria for keeping the contract towers open. I find this rather ironic considering the millions of dollars the FAA spends on safety awareness and instruction.

Ours is not a unique situation. Many of the towers scheduled to close are in busy air space, creating a very hazardous situation. There must be a better way than this to cut the budget.

Cheryl Daml

Of course I'm still going to fly. I'm a young pilot living off a modest budget, with a loving wife who also lives off a modest budget. Quite frankly, I'm tired of listening to a lot of older pilots wishing things would go back to the way they were in the '70s. We do ourselves no favors bitching about how bad things are to everyone, then wondering why no one's starting. Maybe if a few of the "doom and gloom" pilots hung it up, a few more people would be interested in starting.

Brandon Freeman

I'm based at FDK, where the new contract tower is on the chopping block. All of my flying is IFR because of the adjacent SFRA and Camp David. I expect significant delays in clearances and releases, so it will affect my flying, most of which is for Pilots N Paws.

Elliott DeGraff

I see AOPA is asking the government to keep the low-volume towers open. They are behaving like everyone else who is getting cut: "Cut the other guys, not me." It is time for us all to bite the bullet and cut back. We operated nicely without towers, and we can do it again. Not that big a deal.

Cliff Johnson

Certified for ADS-B

I recently purchased a new LSA aircraft and installed a Garmin 796, a GTX-330ES, and a GDL-39 thinking that I'd be receiving all ADS-B information on my 796. The aircraft dealer thought the same. I didn't want to wait until 2020 to be compliant with the "out" mandate and wanted to have the weather and traffic picture now.

If you read the manuals on the above equipment, you'd think that you'd be all set with the latest, but the manuals are deceiving.

What you must know is that in order to talk to the ADS-B ground stations you must have a certified GPS unit. As of this time, the GPS 796 is not [certified]. So The cheapest fix now is to install a standalone certified GPS unit to talk to the GTX-330ES to be able to send and receive the information that I thought I was getting.

What would be great, and makes perfect sense, is that a certified GPS should not have to be used in an experimental or an LSA, as long as the GPS unit is WAAS-capable.

The 796 fits the WAAS requirement.

Isn't it better that we all, certified and non-certified aircraft alike, have the same picture of weather and traffic?

Richard Provenzano

Alphabet Performance

I've been an AOPA member since 1978 and an EAA member since 1990. I think AOPA does a decent job with national issues, but both organizations stabbed their memberships in the back with the purposeful elimination of legacy aircraft such as the C-150/152 or Skipper from the LSA category.

So they wanted to "nurture" a new industry? Maybe they should change their names to GAMA and stop pretending to represent member pilots. The proposal to eliminate the third class medical shows how weak they perceive themselves to be. No night flights? Horsepower restrictions? Did the FAA draw up this proposal? I am on the verge of dropping both memberships.

Dennis English

With $6.00 gas, you will continue to see pilot training decline. I have several friends that drive expensive cars [and] can afford a plane; however, [they] refuse to become involved in flying due to the price of fuel and hangar rent. They do not share their car and have no interest in sharing a plane. AOPA cannot solve this problem.

John Fonville

Drones Are Irresistible

Welcome to the hysteria around UAVs, also known as drones. Please don't add to the alarmist uneducated public reaction.

I see drones frequently because I fly one. It's a three-pound hexacopter capable of carrying a one-pound payload consisting of a camera and camera gimbal.

Since I hold a commercial pilot's certificate, I can claim superior knowledge of FAA rules over most drone hobbyists. Almost all hobbyists fly according to AC 91-57. Few want to risk their craft that cost well north of $500 with out-of-sight GPS-guided flight, and believe me, at 400 feet, a typical hobby drone is just a speck in the air.

That said, the electronics in a $500 drone are just short of amazing. Mine has GPS, altimeter, inertial navigation, and an autopilot for stabilization. The autopilot even knows to return to launch if it loses the RC link.

I fully expect that when the FAA releases the NPRM for allowing drones into the NAS, licensing will be the minimum requirement. Drones are coming. The commercial pressure to permit them is just too great to resist.

Stephen Mann

The drone incursion near JFK is a "shot across the bow" of the traditional aviation community. Drone usage should be licensed and only to qualified persons who are aware of the risks and responsibilities. These are not toys.

Bruno Schreck

An NAS form came to our ATC regarding several instances where drones had lost data links and made altitude changes during flight. These changes happened between flight levels 350 to 180 and were several thousand feet. Also, one drone controller deviated his drone around weather without advising the center. In another instance, a light aircraft had to deviate while in the traffic pattern. Don't know about you, but this scares me.

Name Withheld

"Short Final" Sensitivities

Regarding the letter about "Short Final": I have been flying since 1972. I learned to fly in a USAF flying club. My ex-husband was AF, not me. I found that "Short Final" to be funny, not derogatory to women. We need to lighten up and not take ourselves so seriously. I flew single-pilot night freight in the late 1970s and most of the 1980s, when I was the only woman in the area I was flying in. When I got picked on (and I did, big time!) I turned it back on the man with humor. I got accepted rather quickly.

Lighten up all, please.

Carol Bittner Collins

As in Stan's case, for purposes of full disclosure, I am not and have not been in either the Marines or the Navy. Like Stan, I taught in college/university aviation programs and was the director of one during the 9//11 time period. I am also very sensitive to the issue of women in aviation, especially since my daughter pursued a career in aviation both as a pilot and in ground functions.

I think that Stan missed the point of the joke in the Feb. 25 "Short Final." The reference was to men's vs. boys' departments, not men vs. women. I agree that we have to do all we can to make sure that women do not have to put up with discriminatory things in pursuit of aviation careers, but in this case we might well do more harm than good by trying to make a truly "innocent" joke into something that it is not.

I compliment Stan for his sensitivity and willingness to speak out — but in this case it wasn't needed.

Alan Davis

Read AVmail from other weeks here, and submit your own Letter to the Editor with this form.

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AVweb Video: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Video: Total Eclipse Flight Demo

Original, Exclusive Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

Eclipse is touring the country with its Total Eclipse, a factory re-do of the original EA500. But the airplane is a good stand-in for new production airplanes, which will be called Eclipse 550s. AVweb recently took a flight demo in a Total Eclipse and prepared this video report.

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If that doesn't work, click here to watch on YouTube

Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: HOVA Flight Services (KGIF, Winter Haven, Florida)

Nominate an FBO | Rules | Tips | Questions | Winning FBOs

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to HOVA Flight Services at Gilbert Airport (KGIF) in Winter Haven, Florida.

AVweb reader Christopher Leonard told us how impressed he was with the facilities at staff at HOVA:

This is the best FBO I have been to in a long time. The staff is genuinely friendly, and there is a true GA focus here. The restaurant inside the FBO building is excellent and creates a sense of community. The airport is active in flight training and promoting GA. The facilities are beautiful, and fuel prices for such an outstanding new facility are very reasonable. Getting in and out of the airport is a breeze. I would highly recommend this FBO and airport to anyone!

Keep those nominations coming. For complete contest rules, click here.

AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!

The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

My first flying job was as a flight instructor at Hanger One at Millard Airport (MLE) in Nebraska. One evening in 1989, while working with an instrument student in a Cessna 150, I overheard another instructor, Karl Lindholm, familiarizing his student with tower communications at Epply Airfield in Omaha, Nebraska. With calm winds and no other traffic in the area, the tower was allowing them to perform touch-and-goes on different runways. I then overheard the following:

"Cessna 12345, you are cleared for the option on all runways."

"Roger. So are we cleared to run amok?"

"Affirmative. 12345 is cleared to run amok. Advise when you are ready to return to Millard."

Gerald Sheehy
via e-mail

Heard Anything Funny on the Radio?

Heard anything funny, unusual, or downright shocking on the radio lately? If you've been flying any length of time, you're sure to have eavesdropped on a few memorable exchanges. The ones that gave you a chuckle may do the same for your fellow AVweb readers. Share your radio funny with us, and, if we use it in a future "Short Final," we'll send you a sharp-looking AVweb hat to sport around your local airport. No joke.

Click here to submit your original, true, and previously unpublished story.

Names Behind the News back to top 

Meet the AVwebFlash Team

AVwebFlash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest news, articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the world's premier independent aviation news resource.

The AVwebFlash team is:

Tom Bliss

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Scott Simmons

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Kevin Lane-Cummings

Ad Coordinator
Karen Lund

Avionics Editor
Larry Anglisano

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